- Due to his stupendous performance in IPL, Dinesh Karthik is being touted for selection in the upcoming T20 World Cup
- The man has been in and out of the team, but never enjoyed a stable run
- In the wake of India’s poor show in the last T20 world cup, Karthik could enhance India’s chances
For the umpteenth time, Dinesh Karthik is making headlines in the Indian Cricketing circuit. The man who was once on the brink of destroying his own career is now demolishing a youngsters’ format at the age of 30. It only underlines the fact that he never got his dues.
Karthik has proven his worth in IPL 2022
After 2015, Karthik again became a hot favourite of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) management. Many expressed surprise when RCB spent Rs 5.5 crore to buy a 36-year-old wicketkeeper. Vikrant Gupta, a journalist even called him a ‘part-time cricketer and full-time commentator’. Except for RCB management, very few gave him a chance to stand the onslaught of IPL.
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But Karthik is a man of steel. He decided to answer his critics with performance. Karthik scored an unbeaten 32 off 14 balls against Punjab Kings and 14 not out in 7 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders. He played an innings of 44 not out in 23 balls against Rajasthan Royals. Against Chennai, he could only get 2 balls to face, but he didn’t eat up those balls and scored 7. In the next match, he scored quickfire 34 runs in 14 balls against Mumbai Indians.
A viable option for T20 world cup 2022
His best innings came against Kings XI Punjab. Coming down the top bat at number 7, Karthik thrashed 66 runs off 34 balls. Remarkably, Karthik was the last recognised batsman with nearly 8 overs to go. He started slow and scored his first boundary only on the 14th ball. He suddenly changed his gears and enabled the team to score a respectable total.
Through his short but important innings down the order, Karthik has scored a total of 210 runs in 7 innings. His strike rate is competing with Yuvraj Singh’s strike rate in the inaugural event of the T20 world cup. At nearly 37, Karthik is now being pushed by experts as a viable option for India’s T20 world cup campaign in Australia.
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Karthik was a child prodigy
Experts are not wrong in their analysis of Karthik’s chances in the world cup. The man has been on the Indian circuit for more than 18 years now. Riding on the back of strong domestic performances, Karthik was asked to debut against Michael Vaughn’s England in 2004. At the time when Andrew Flintoff was in the best limited-overs form of his life, Karthik was given a batting order nearly matching that of Freddie.
However, it was Karthik’s wicket-keeping which grabbed headlines. His agile stumping of English Captain is still touted by many as the best dismissal of his life. A teenager Karthik was given more opportunities but his batting was probably not mature enough for the rigorousness of international cricket. The lowered confidence impacted his keeping as well. Selectors then pushed him to grind more in the domestic circuit.
Dhoni’s arrival meant closed doors for Karthik
Meanwhile, Dhoni emerged onto the scene with blistering big-hitting abilities. Though he was not considered a stable Test batsman, Dhoni did just enough to not allow selectors to reconsider Karthik for Test matches, until his retirement in 2014. Karthik was focussing more on technical aspects of his batting, while Dhoni was looking to improve as a wicketkeeper. The team combination during the era was such that India needed a stable wicketkeeper who could bat a bit, rather than someone like Adam Gilchrist. Later, Dhoni emerged as a backbone of India’s lower middle-order in Test matches as well.
For 14 long years, Karthik kept being in and out of the team, but could not cement his place, neither as a wicketkeeper nor as a batsman. His moment of reckoning came in the Nidhas Trophy in 2018 when his big-hitting helped India bag the trophy. It was the first time Karthik proved his big-hitting mettle in the international arena. Later, Karthik became a hot favourite of his IPL franchise as well as his state.
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One last time Karthik
But Karthik was 33, he had very few years of game, form or fitness left under his belt. So, he decided to give a shot to post-retirement opportunities as well. He is now regularly seen on Television, commentating and analysing various aspects of the game. But, playing Cricket is in his blood. He has maintained his fitness, which is why he is still thrashing bowlers bowling 150 km/hour.
When Johnathan Trott was sent into mental prison by Mitchell Jhonson’s thunderbolts, people did not give him a chance of making a comeback. He gave his day in and day out to improve his technique and came back, albeit only for a series. It was a triumph of sportsman spirit over mental demons.
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Karthik’s position is no different. He is fighting the ghost of his past failures. He is bruised but not beaten. In the wake of India’s shoddy show in the last T20 world cup, people of the country are waiting for his final blush on the international stage. One more time Karthik…One more